November 17, 2014

First Snow, First Light

Sunrise this morning was not the dramatic, flame red sky to the east we often experience, but a subtle, gradual brightening, filtered through snow heavy clouds, that bathed the whitened landscape in a blue wash that seems to me to be particular to winter. In New Hampshire, as I remember it, this wintery light has a more violet cast to it, a quality of light I have not seen elsewhere.
Still wet after being rinsed in four changes of water, the camera rendered the colors in the linen samples MUCH more saturated than they appeared. The next two shots capture the dyes more accurately, as the linen dries in front of the fire. 
I have no way of knowing whether or not the willow water contained enough tannin to have had any effect. Either way, the black bean soaking water made for a purplish-brown dye. Before turning these linen pieces into something useful and/or decorative, I am tempted to try one more dyeing process in which plant materials are rolled up in the fabric and then steamed. I need to explore a bit to determine if there's anything I can salvage from under the snow for this experiment or if I'd see more dramatic results with food scraps.


  1. Wow. I'm so enchanted by that snowy photo - such a winter wonderland! That morning light looks amazing. Somehow it's real but to me it looks so much like a fairytale. One year soon, we have promised ourselves and the kids a white Christmas. Oh I can't wait!

    I love that purplish-brown colour from the beans and I am so looking forward to what might result from rolling the plant materials up and steaming. I've never heard of that process before - is that a technique from your course? Or an idea of yours just for a bit of fun?

  2. We did not cover the plant dyeing technique in the course. I'm inspired to try it by the work of India Flint. She travels the world, but I believe she is based in Australia.

    Since finding her work, I have stumbled across the technique elsewhere. Here's a tutorial of sorts

  3. It's taken me a while to get back here but thanks so much for those links, Laurie. I've been checking them out - great tutorial which I have bookmarked for later reference AND oh my goodness, India Flint is INCREDIBLE!!! I've had a good look around her site and she's not only based in Australia (although her schedule looks to have her mostly abroad) BUT her farm is in South Australia! I nearly fell out of my chair - that's local to me! I've emailed to inquire on her plans for any workshops close to home - I would love to participate so much!

    1. Wow! Thoughts of taking a workshop with India Flint are setting my heart a-flutter. I do so hope that works out for you (and that you'll tell all! hah!).

    2. I'm so excited, Laurie! India got back to me and she is going to hold a workshop at a gorgeous little store in a nearby town here in the Adelaide Hills. My hope now is that the cost falls within our budget - if not, I may just have to rack up a few Birthday and Christmas gifts to ensure I do not miss out :-) And, I will most definitely be sharing my experience! On the side, India has a wonderful project going at the moment for us all to participate - I've just got her permission to blog about it so I can spread the word - stay tuned :-)